August Photographs

Suzie’s not that keen on being photographed, and prefers pictures taken by stealth to those by direct confrontation. He is however feeling increasingly handsome:

Sioux's Hero Pose
Sioux's Hero Pose

Suzie allowed these photos to be taken as he relaxed in Corv’s room after a second all-nighter outside, and feels they capture the beginning of the transition from kitten to cat.

kitten
Looking Kitten

Reacts to camera
Sioux vs. camera

Looking Away
Looking away

profile
fully aware

closeup
Close-up

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Science and Sioux Bubbles

Humans love looking for understandable, repeatable patterns. In this task they use a particular methodology they call science, which tends to see itself as a repository of objective truth about life, the universe and everything. Sioux sees science as a great game to play, but gets confused over the rules. Sioux ‘Suzie Bubbs’ Bubbles is aware of the power of naming, and science is not excepted, making values with words. ‘Parasite‘, for example: disgusting free-loaders that harm their hosts just to survive? Or are they fellow travellers who enjoy a symbiotic relationship with some and a predatory relationship with others, just like all animals? Who decides if an animal is a pest or a pleasure? Essential or vermin? It depends on your point of view, a question of philosophy as much as science. Whatever name you use, it will mean something other than what you want it to mean.

Confusion increases when journalists get hold of science ideas and they tend to spin them, off into ideas of their own that don’t necessarily accurately report the actual science.

This affects cats. Humans love reading the latest theories about cats, and may change their behaviour accordingly. For this reason, starting this week, Suzie will endeavour to catch, play with, scratch, chew, disembowel and deliver to you the latest and greatest felinology news on the planet, with incisive and rigorous commentary, purring at some, hissing at others. Suzie is not a qualified scientist, and does not promise objectivity or freedom from bias and personal motivations: he is, after all, a cat. Suzie does promise to blog cat science without fear, but with felicity, fun and fidelity.

The Ministry of Chance

suzie watching
a deliberate juxtaposition of two nice cats

Suzie’s seen some mean looking cats out and about, but that’s nothing compared to internet cats. Check out Chance, pictured below!

a cat called Chance
An Untruthful and Accidental Photograph of a Nice Cat by Polly Nance
Scary huh? Sioux showed mild alarm, but is relieved to discover Chance lives on another continent, with photographer Polly Nance.

Sioux isn’t the only feline Suzie to appear on WordPress recently, as discovered using the tagsurfer feature. Surfing ‘feline’ brings up the whole crew of wordpress cats, including an invaluable cat communication guide over at Ferrier Felines.
But imagine the surprise here at Sioux Bubbs central on surfing the ‘suzie’ tag to see Suzie, One Mad and Clean Cat, over on the charming blog of Bev Pawlowski. A cat called Suzie – who would have thought it? Suzie, a “4 year old adult Calico Cat”, recently experienced the horror all domesticated cats must one day face – a bath!

Sioux sympathises, as he recalls well the day he was given a shower upon returning covered in some substance unwanted in the home. He too resisted any attempt to dry him. He would have cleaned himself eventually, and could not understand humans impatience. Towels represented a further indignity, but bedraggled and damp he had to submit, then retired, still bedraggled, to finish the job himself, slinking away, shaking his leg.

Sioux ‘Suzie’ Bubbs: an explanation

Sioux, like the Sphinx, expects many questions. Answers are rare.

Why such a long and complicated name? Why the girly nickname? Exactly what is going on with the cat’s gender? Why the funny spelling? Why Bubbs, or Bubbles?

Well, like Sioux himself, his name has an excellent if roundabout pedigree. When Suzie was a baby kitten, and first arrived at his new home from his original nursery, the humans involved had no idea if he was female or male. Humans almost never know a young kitten’s gender, finding it difficult to determine. This is because the openings under young kittens tails appear very similar, since a male kitten’s testicles have not yet descended to fill the scrotal sac.

Oliy chose ‘Bubbs’ as a name, and said it was because the kitten has a bubbly personality. Fair enough, thought Bubbs; after all, he did.

With Bubbs’ gender still fluid, Angela decided to call her ‘Suzie’, because the kitten reminded her of

Siouxsie Sioux
Siouxsie Sioux
Sioux Suzie
Sioux Suzie

Siouxsie Sioux, the great punk singer, real name Susan Ballion.

Ballion? Never heard that name before, but a little digging reveals a Scottish word, meaning a knapsack, a tinker’s box, or any box you can carry on your back. But we can go further back in time: the Egyptian word B3h, meaning ‘foreskin or phallus’, it has been suggested, may be traced to an indo-european root word ‘b-l’. Meanwhile, the Greek word phallus was replaced in later Ionian with Ballion.

When it became obvious he was dropping testicles, not ballions,  at the appointed time, it was felt a cat need not conform to human genders, so the names stuck. Suzie was a good name as was Bubbs. Put together they make Suzie Bubbs. Alternatively, Sioux sounds exactly the same as Sue, but the spelling isn’t a girl’s name, so that seemed like a good idea. Hence: Sioux ‘Suzie’ Bubbs.

But what a complicated identity! Let’s see if we can unpick the name any more for the history of its ideas, like we did with ‘Ballion’.

Sioux
Most people know this name for a particular nation or group of Native American peoples, native since before early modern Europeans came to colonise in the late 15th century. What many do not know is that the Sioux called themselves the Dakota people, or Lakota in some transliterations. The name Dakota means the Allies. The word Sioux, not a Dakota word at all, was what the Dakota were called by the Anishinabe people. When the Anishinabe wanted to refer to the Dakota, they would say ‘Sioux’, just as we might say ‘Yank’ when we refer to an American. Suzie’s not sure how friendly the Anishinabe were with the Dakota, but the word Sioux does not mean ‘the Allies’. It means ‘Little Snakes’.

Suzie
Like Susan amongst human names, Suzie is short for Susanna, a fine old name from Hebrew via Greek. It means ‘lily’, which is toxic to cats, but may come from the Egyptian name Sšn, meaning ‘lotus’.

Bubbs
Short for bubbles, a much younger word, noted from the early 14th century, and may come from the Dutch word bobble. According to a google translation from the Dutch wikipedia, ‘Bobble’ means a bump or lump on the body, and “in sexual terms: visibility of masculinity”.

How ironic, in the midst of all this confusion, Angela chose a name which traces to an ancient word for lotus, after Siouxsie Sioux (or Little snake), while Oliy chose a name which means testicles.
Putting all this together, one unavoidable conclusion presents itself. The true academic/mythological meaning of Suzie’s name is:

                       Little-snake Lotus Testicles

That’s the etymological translation of ‘Sioux Suzie Bubbles’. Suzie Bubbs shares the decree of this deeper name for educational purposes in good faith, and will not be responsible for the consequences if it is used a form of address.
More posts in this category, History of Suzie Bubbs coming soon.

The Moon When All Things Ripen

…and Bubbles has a morning to himself

ripemoon
Last Friday; photo by benweb3.1

Suzie Bubbs is learning to be both a house cat and an outdoor cat,and since Corv occasionally works unsociable hours from home is able to let him roam the night with a safe haven to return to. but Sometimes Cor needs his sleep, and Bubbles gets wrangled indoors. But cat can roam where humans seem fearful to tread, and that is exactly what this cat did this week. 4am and Suzie refused to make the leap home. Suzie moved in a 45 degree arc, so a miaow reached Corv’s ears every 3 degrees of arc but no cat was forthcoming. So he locked the door and went to bed. Sioux was on the move but no way in.

From Midnight to Noon

Bubbs had already been out since Midnight, and now from 4am onwards stayed out, without the safety net of an easy way indoors. Not till noon the next day did Sioux hear the call of his human house dweller, and of course came in right away in perfect, if ruffled condition. After a quick bite of rabbit paté the cat fasted and slept for the rest of the day. The morning’s middle few hours had been cold, followed by a slow warmth from only the sun, and with just the merest hint of reflection Bubbles felt only one possible flaw: that he’s maybe too awesome. It doesn’t hurt to learn the occasional lesson, and get back indoors where he knows the pitfalls – all too well.

Yesterday he was back to the outdoors, up on a low roof in the sun watching over the community, at least four gardens at once, watching as the sound of a particular cat scrabbled in the undergrowth…

Suzie’s Seasons

Sioux is taking to his first Summer well, and has made a dry and shady den. Flying ants have proved puzzling – they don’t behave as other insects in the endless game of cat and gossamer wing. As Summer and Suzie mature it seems fitting to look back on early spring. Sioux’s education was both academic and practical.

catinfrontofacademicbook
Felinethropy – reading up on the origins of social work.

Surprisingly formal at times, here cat perused, for a time this book:

You too can peruse Patterns of philanthropy: charity and society in nineteenth-century Bristol

cat playskitten conciousness: Sioux is doing cute here, once he’d relaxed with the camera.